BC104 - First Full Sound (Part 1)

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Posted by Daniel Christian on 05 Nov 20:06

This two part free online saxophone lesson focuses on one mode of articulation - Tonguing and how to play and recognise the first 4 notes on saxophone. Please remember to subscribe and come join me on Facebook/Twitter(@DanRChristian) for more lessons, backing tracks and tips.

A little more crook work....

Before we focus on playing notes on the saxophone lets just use the crook one last time.  This time, we're going to use a form of Articulation (the way in which the notes speak) to punctuate the way we play notes on the Saxophone.  Articulation is a very useful tool when trying to make music sound more interesting think of some smooth Saxophone playing that you've heard, this is called Slurring or Legato.  Think of some harder rock Saxophone, this will be more separated  using the Tongue.  Tonguing is what we'll cover in this lesson and believe me, it can cause issues if not done correctly from the start!

Tonguing: Exercise One

Take your assembled Mouthpiece and Crook (neck) then form an embouchure and blow a steady note.   Next place your tongue on the tip of the reed to stop it vibrating but, KEEP BLOWING. Then remove your tongue from the tip of the reed to let the air escape and the reed vibrate again.  There you have it, you tongued your first note on Saxophone!  Try this a few more times and make sure the sound you produce is clean and that you are not changing the shape/position of anything other than your tongue.  That's right, when you Tongue the only thing that should move is...your tongue!  A simple concept but this is the biggest problem people have when trying this exercise, moving your tongue in isolation.

Exercise Two: Dah

Once you are happy with consistently blowing air and using your tongue as the proverbial stopper on the top of a shaken coke bottle try repeating a string of notes.  Say the word "Dah", notice how our tongue general aims at the roof of the mouth just behind the front top teeth, we need to alter this slightly for Saxophone playing.  Say "Dah" again but this time try to flatten out your tongue and let it touch your teeth when you say the word instead.  Feels a bit strange right?  This is fine!  Now, form an embouchure blow and note and say Dah, allowing your tongue to hit the reed and then withdraw.  This should have had the same effect as if you were doing exercise one.  The benefit of the Dah is that you can use the word to gain momentum and eventually Tongue a lot quicker and more accurately.  Now try saying four Dah's in a Row:  Dah, Dah, Dah, Dah punctuating each note on your Saxophone.

Exercise Three: Speed Building

Using the same Dah sound try using a metronome set the metronome to 60 beats per minute and do one Dah per click then do 2 "Dah"'s per click/  Each practise session steadily increase the BPM by 5 until you begin to really push yourself, this will improve your dexterity: Remember that we are always looking for a nice sound!

Another online saxophone lesson complete; remember not to move on till you can do everything in this Saxophone Lesson!

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